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Tánaiste fails to endorse motherhood & fatherhood

By Sarah Mac Donald - 20 April, 2015

Government believes "the sexes are completely interchangeable and that men and women bring nothing special and distinct to the lives of their children” - Iona Institute.

Joan BurtonA spokesman for the Iona Institute has criticised the Tánaiste  over comments she made in an interview on RTE Radio on Sunday.

Reacting to comments made on the ‘This Week’ programme, Dr John Murray of the pro marriage pro family think tank said Joan Burton “clearly demonstrated that she and the Government attach no special value to a child enjoying the love of both a mother and a father”.

He said the Labour leader also demonstrated what No campaigners have being warning, namely that when you redefine marriage you redefine the family and you redefine the very meaning of parenthood.

“The Government no longer believes there is any special value in a child having the love of their own mother and father, or any mother and father,” he said.

The moral theologian added, “They believe the sexes are completely interchangeable and that men and women bring nothing special and distinct to the lives of their children.”

According to Dr Murray, “It is also clear that they attach no importance to the ties of flesh and blood. Clearly two men or two women raising a child cannot both be the biological parents of the child. Only one can be.”

The Mater Dei lecturer said that while obviously children can be well loved by non-biological parents, most people rightly believe that children ought to be raised where possible by their own mother and father and only circumstance should ever interfere with this.

“The Government is therefore carrying out a radical transformation of our view of the family between the proposed amendment to the section of the Constitution dealing with the family, the Children and Family Relationships Act, and the planned surrogacy law,” he warned.

He concluded, “We hope that by May 22 it will be abundantly clear to the public that the Government no longer believes in the special value of having a loving mother and father, no longer believes the natural ties are of real value, and believes the sexes are interchangeable.”

“This is very radical and if the public wakes up to what is really on offer, they will vote No on referendum day.”

In her interview with RTE, Joan Burton said “This referendum is about equality.”

The Tánaiste said that as the referendum is about civil marriage it therefore “does not impact on how different religions carry out marriage ceremonies in this country”.

Asked if all other things being equal whether a child would have a better upbringing with a mother and a father than with any other combination, Joan Burton responded that she has known quite a few children brought up in gay relationships down the years.

“All I can say is that the love, the care, the nurturing that people who are gay give to children is as good as anything given by people who are heterosexual.”

She added, “I think that the critical thing is for a child being brought up to have parents and people who love them nurture them and care for them – that is what works for children.”

Asked if the combined skills of a woman and a man offer more than what two women or two men can offer, the Labour leader said, “Life works out differently for a lot of people.”

Separately, the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar has hit out at a cross denominational church group’s leaflet on the marriage referendum which has highlighted comments he made five years ago saying every child has the right to a mother and father as far as possible.

The comment was made by the Minister in a speech in support of civil partnerships.

However, on Sunday, Minister Varadkar said he had changed his mind since then and accused the group of being “disingenuous”.

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